Early offense aids baseball in win over Wagner
Seton Hall got the bats going early and often by mixing small ball with some clutch hitting in their 12-5 win over Wagner on Wednesday.
The Pirates were able to chase Wagner’s starter Connor Smith off the mound after scoring five runs in Smith’s 2.2 innings of work.
After a silent first inning, it was the bottom of the order that found a way to get on base and get the runners home with some small ball in the second. Sophomore Sal Annunziata reached on an error and sophomore John Beaubien walked, a sacrifice bunt by junior Dillon Hamlin got both of the runners into scoring position.
Senior Ryan Sullivan plated Annunziata with another sacrifice and brought back the top of the order. Junior Zack Granite then slapped a double into the left field corner to bring home Beaubien and put the Pirates up 2-0.
Coach Sheppard’s decision to use small ball to successfully get the runs home was not an exploitation of the Seahawk defense, but rather something deeply rooted in the game plan.
“We try and put as much pressure as we can,” Sheppard said. “The bottom of the lineup gave us an opportunity to do that. Those guys have been handling the bat pretty well and we had two runners on and have to try and create some runs on opportunities like that.”
The opportunity for another offensive onslaught came for the Pirates in the third inning. Senior Guiseppe Papaccio doubled and senior Mike Genovese walked to set the table for an Annunziata single that scored two. Beaubien drew another walk and Hamlin grounded out to shortstop Shaun Flynn, which brought home another run. After the next batter Sullivan walked, the afternoon ended for Wagner’s Smith.
In the fourth inning Wagner relief pitcher Nathan Hunt set the table for the Pirates with his lack of control. In between walks to Papaccio and Beaubin, Hunt hit Genovese with a pitch.
With the bases loaded, Hamlin hit a shot into the left center field gap that bounced over the fence for a ground rule double. Hunt’s troubles continued as he balked home another run and let Seton Hall take an 8-1 lead.
Seton Hall put up another four runs thanks to big days from Annunziata (2-5, 3R, RBI), senior Scott Kalamar (2-5, R, 2RBI, SB) and Granite (1-3, 2R, 2RBI, 4BB, 3SB).
The Pirates drew 15 walks throughout the game off of five pitchers, which is the most since 1999.
Pirates’ starter Anthony Elia threw five solid innings for the Pirates allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out four. With the temperature dropping and the scoring gap widening, Sheppard decided to give his bullpen some work, using four different pitchers to finish the last four innings.
Seton Hall will travel to Houston this weekend to take on a very tough Cougar team that is 15-3 at home. The three games will go Friday to Sunday before bringing the Pirates back to Owen T. Carroll field for a game against Iona on Wednesday.
Gerard Gilberto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.